ENGLISH NEWS International

Russia says it may decide to cut diplomatic relations with the United States “completely”

Russia says it may decide to cut diplomatic relations with the United States “completely” if Washington confiscates the billions of dollars worth of Russian foreign assets held in US financial institutions to assist Ukraine in the war.

Washington’s political leadership “must not act under an illusion… that Russia is clinging with both hands to diplomatic relations with that country,” the Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Friday.

Ryabkov said Moscow would not be the one to initiate a complete breakdown in diplomatic ties, but this could happen for a number of reasons, including, “asset confiscation, further military escalation, many other things. I would not go into negative forecasts here.”

The Russian diplomat said Moscow was “ready for any scenario.”

In the meantime, US media reported Washington and its allies had devised schemes to take possession of Russian assets to continue funding the Ukraine war. The New York Times reported the administration of US President Joe Biden is aiming to take possession of the frozen Russian assets – worth over $300 billion.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin’s spokesman, said on Friday such a move would deal a serious blow to the global financial system.

Peskov said Russia would “never leave in peace” any country that seized its assets, and in such a scenario it would look at what Western assets it could confiscate in retaliation.

On December 19, Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov warned “an absolutely symmetrical response will follow” if the European Union decides to tap into profits generated from the frozen funds. He said there are sufficient foreign assets held in specialized ruble-denominated bank accounts, including dividend reserve liabilities to counterparties from “unfriendly” countries.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin of Russia has said the country’s economy not only warded off the Western sanctions but also became stronger in the process.

“In general, the situation is stable. We have overcome all the sanctions-related issues, and have started the next stage of [economic] development on a new basis, which is fundamentally important,” Putin said on Thursday in Sochi at the 20th annual meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club.

Putin gave assurance to the Russian nation that the West’s anti-Moscow sanctions were helping restructure the Russian economy positively.

Last year, around €260 billion ($287 billion) of Moscow’s central bank assets were immobilized in the G7 countries, the EU, and Australia.